From Washington to Berlin Consensus (Brussels, March 8, 2014)

DEU Europa Verfassungsgericht ReformvertragI ‘ll try to answer the subject of the panel (“Who profits from debt and the debt crisis?”) using the dramatic experience of Greece of the last years.

  • The first who benefits from debt crisis and the restructuring of debt is the financial system which caused this crisis, both Greek and financial banks. I stress three different facts:

    • According to data from the Bank of International Settlements, investements of European banks (especially German and French) on greek bonds on 31 of December 2009, were 122,6 bn. euros. Two years after, and two months before the haircut, those banks were holding 65 bn. In other words, they used the first two years of rescue to get rid of the greek bonds, knowing that at the end of the day haircut was unavoidable or a matter of time. Meanwhile, the greek bonds were bought by the ECB, helping in this way: first, speculation and second, the transfer of the burden to the official side, the side of EU tax-payers, which a bit later refused the haircut for these titles.

    • Greek banks have been compensated for 100% of their investments on Greek bonds, while greek public pension schemes, universities and even hospitals lost up to 95% of their mandatory deposits in Bank of Greece. Social security schemes alone lost 14 bn. Euros. Consequently, the bailouts to the countries are really back door bailouts to the big banks. The bailouts werenot about sustainability of sovereign debt but of banks.

    • The biggest achievement of financial sector was the nationalization of sovereign debt. In 2009, a much smaller debt of 299 bn euros (or 129% of GDP) was owned by private sector by a percentage of 75%. Now after the restructuring of 2012, which was the biggest one in recent history (bigger than that of Argentina), public debt has not only increased, reaching 321 bn euros (or 175% of GDP) but, the most serious is that a share of 76% is on the hands of official sector (EU governments, IMF, ECB, national central banks, EFSF, ESM).

  • The second factor who has been benefited from debt restructuring is the ruling – not financial – capitalist class who keeps producing, selling, etc. A strict term of the second memorandum (which accompanied the second “rescue” loan of 2012) was the horizontal reduction of wages by 22%. According to official statistics, these four years of crisis, available income has been shrinked by 34%. By another term of Memorandum, the collective bargaining system between trade unions and employers unions has been dismantled. Now, government decides and announces the height of salaries. It’s obvious that these violent changes have been proved the last nail in the coffin of trade unions.

  • The second way the capitalist class has been benefited by debt crisis and restructuring is privatizations. The sell-off of public property (from real estate and airports to water and energy companies) was included in every Memorandum as an aim to reduce public debt because the revenues are going directly, by law, to the servicing of debt. Profitable opportunities are created for European corporations to take over vital infrastructures and Greek businessmen to join as minor partners.

  • Among those who have been benefited from debt crisis are also the hegemonic states of European Union, or core countries of eurozone and most of all, Germany. They have earned in two ways. First, economically because, among others, since 2009 they are borrowing in much better terms. According to an answer of Finance minister Wolfgang Schauble these earnings (of “fly to the quality” as they called) were 41 bn. Euros. Also, EU governmnets profit from bailouts because they lend money with an interest rate that is two – three times higher than what they borrow at. The second way is political. The typical equality among the member states belongs definitively to the past, while Germany shows again its imperialistic, hegemonic face, transforming the crisis-hit periphery to rogue states. Economic governance and banking union provisions are very telling on this respect.

All these reasons, in my opinion, justify the demand of imminent and unilateral cessation of payments of public debt. An audit of the public debt can help to legalize its abolition. In this struggle we have nothing to wait from ECB, or EU, which have been proved much more aggressive than IMF, servicing creditors’ interests.

Greek debt audit believes that cancellation of debt must begin from Troika’s debts, which are a percentage of 66% of total debt. Loans of mechanism are a very clear case of “odious debt”, as Eric Toussaint has shown. Following Alexander Shakh’s definition, first, the two greek governments of Papandreou and Papademos that signed the two loan agreements (5.2010 and 3.2010) had no legitimacy to do it. Second, those loans don’t serve Greek people’s interests. According to a recent report of Attac 77% of Troika’s money has gone to creditors for the servicing of debt and financial institutions, only 23% went to state budget. Third, creditors knew about all those. Consequently, “rescue mechanism’s” loans can be characterised as odious, as a means to cancel them. It’s a matter of political willing.

From another point of view the above-mentioned are confirmed, answering another question: “Who has lost the last years from debt crisis and restructuring?”. Well, who have lost:

  • Greek taxpayers who have seen every kind of tax burden to be increased. Only real estate taxes have been increased by more than 700%. At the same time Troika and Greek political elite agree to tax reductions on capital.

  • Greek working class who is payed with wages of 480 euros a month, while 1 in 3 is unemployed, and among those who are lucky keep working 1 in 3 isn’t paid.

  • Cypriots normal citizens-depositors who lost even 47% of their bank accounts. The same will happen in Greece too, while EU in meantime decided officialy the bail-in on April of 2013.

  • Greek and Cypriot youth which immigrates massively to North Europe, USA and Middle East. As a result in the periphery of eurozone we observe the brain drain we saw on 80’s and 90’s in Latin America, with the only diference that in the seat of USA now sits Germany, The Netherlands, etc.

  • National sovereignty of periphery countries that is into question, like never before in the post war period.

  • Most permanently, on the camp of losers from debt crisis are the peoples of Europe who suffer from Stability Pact, Euro Plus Pact, two and six pack that form the cornerstones of Berlin Consensus. The most modern and dangerous version of Washington Consensus, that rised from the ashes of current debt crisis. 

(Speech at the conference, Alternative solutions to the debt crisis, organised by Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung and European Network on Debt and Development, 6-8 March 2014, Brussels)

Gina Ekholt: Creditors are also liable for public debts (Epikaira, Greek weekly magazine)

Gina Ekholt 3New fact on the debt issue, even within Europe, creates the Norwegian Government’s decision to launch on August 15, 2013 official audit on whether the debt that a number of developing countries owe her, is legitimate. The «new» fact that the Norwegian Government introduces concerns the liability of the creditor. Also, it highlights, the moral obligation of the creditor to prove that the debt owed by other governments is indeed legal! This is a big step forward, which if it is applied by other governments, it may mark a radical change in the debt chart within the eurozone. A chart, that as it is now configured, is against the peripheral countries, who have been turn into debt colonies in the benefit of the center countries, who keep draining them. For instance imagine, the consequences of an audit of the debt that Greece owes to Germany, especially when it will examine the compatibility of the two loan agreements with the international law, with which Greece has been tied up, or the possibility of setting off what Greece owes today with the (multiple in value!) amounts that Germany owes to Greece since the Second World War. Indisputably, the move of Norway makes it difficult for Germany and the other countries who have loaned Greece to save their banks. It also gives new support to the countries that face debt crisis, to request debt audit, as a means to cancel part or even all of the public debt.

INTERVIEW BY LEONIDAS VATIKIOTIS

– Can you tell us a few words about your work on the Norwegian Coalition for the Debt Cancellation? What have you done till now?

– The Norwegian Coalition for Debt Cancellation (SLUG) is an umbrella organization with over 40 affiliated Norwegian organizations. SLUG was established in 1994 to fight for debt justice for developing countries nationally and internationally. We work for the cancellation of illegitimate and unsustainable debt.

Illegitimate debt is the product of irresponsible lending to illegitimate regimes. This includes knowingly lending to corrupt governments for political purposes, and without ensuring that the loans will benefit the people of the country. Illegitimate debt can also be the results from irresponsible projects that failed to serve a greater purpose or caused harm to the people or the environment. We work to uncover cases of illegitimate debt, and we believe that all such debt should be cancelled.

Debt service payments take resources that impoverished countries could use to secure the basic human rights of its population instead. While the world gives 141 billion dollars in aid to developing countries, countries pay back 464 billion dollars each year that loan payments. That means that flow of money goes from the South to the North. We work to halter and reverse this flow of money through the implementation of Principles for responsible lending and borrowing, and for an fair and transparent international debt work-out mechanism.

The main victories for debt justice here in Norway was the 2007 cancellation of the debt stemming from for a number of failed development projects in the 1970s called the Ship Export Campaign. The Norwegian government cancelled the debts on the basis of its co-responsibility, unilaterally and without reporting it as ODA.

Now, six years later, the government has commissioned an official audit to evaluate whether there is more developing country debt owed to Norway that resulted from irresponsible lending. This is groundbreaking, as it is the first time such an audit has been commissioned by a creditor, breaking with the historical legacy of placing full responsibility for debts on the debtor alone. As some developing countries are suffering from unsustainable debt burdens, the Norwegian audit is seen as a welcome initiative by many campaigners for reform of the global financial architecture and poverty eradication.

– What has done your government till now about international debt?

– In addition to the previous mentioned victories, the Norwegian government is in the forefront of promoting responsible lending. The Norwegian audit was conducted by a contracted financial service firm which closely examined 33 concessional trade credit agreements from 1970-2000 in order to assess whether they were in compliance with national guidelines and the newly established United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) Principles to Promote Responsible Sovereign Lending and Borrowing. Norway has been a supporter for formulating these Principles, and the audit marked the first concrete use of the Principles.

Norway has also supported UNCTAD’s current work on designing a new mechanism for the resolution of sovereign debt crises. As many countries are hampered by odious and unsustainable debt burdens, the work on establishing a new, fair and independent debt resolution mechanism is pivotal to resolve current crises.

– Recently you began a debt audit about the loan agreement that has signed your government with Indonesia. Which are your arguments in favor of this audit? What exactly you ask?

– The Norwegian debt audit looked at 33 concessional trade credit agreements from 1970-2000 to Indonesia, Myanmar, Egypt, Pakistan, Sudan, Zimbabwe and Somalia. SLUG’s shadow report evaluates selected claims to Indonesia, Egypt and Myanmar to evaluate whether Norway has acted as a responsible lender.

In the case study on Indonesia, we have looked at two projects that involved selling environmental technology to Indonesia in the mid-1990s. In the report “Is Indonesia’s debt to Norway Illegitimate?” (2009), these projects were described as a development failure and the Norwegian exporters failed fulfil the contract. Instead of a wave power plant, and technology to monitor changes in the marine environment, the people of Indonesia were left with debts from projects that never yielded any developmental benefits, and that had been contracted by the illegitimate regime of Suharto. These projects illustrate striking weaknesses in the mechanisms that allowed for the commissioning of the projects, and the lack of a proper mechanism to find a solution when the Norwegian exporters failed to deliver. The Indonesian debt resulting from these projects is clearly illegitimate; The loans were granted to the repressive and illegitimate regime of Suharto impact assessments and risk assessments were severely flawed, and for both projects there was a clear breach of contract, as the Norwegian exporters did not deliver the goods. For these reasons we believe that the debts to Indonesia should be cancelled.

– Do you hope that Norwegian government will accept your conclusions and suggestions?

– We hope the Norwegian government will cancel the claims that originate from irresponsible lending, including the debts of Indonesia. We also hope the government implement the UNCTAD Principles, as interpreted in our report, to all forms of lending, including lending through the purchase of government bonds. Norway should also use its membership in multilateral development banks to promote their compliance with responsible finance principles. We are happy to announce that the Norwegian government together with us, the European Network on Debt and Development (Eurodad) and Jubilee USA are hosting an event at the UN General Assembly in September launching the Norwegian debt audit internationally as well as discussing the UN principles for responsible lending and borrowing, and a debt resolution mechanism.

– Do you believe that UN principles must be respectable in every loan agreement?

– Clearly, the UNCTAD principles did not revolutionise lending when they were launched in 2012. However, the fact that such international principles have been defined and launched is an important first step towards more responsible lending and borrowing practices. The principles recognise the responsibilities of the sovereign lender, which in itself constitutes a positive development. Many of the principles are aimed at improving transparency and accountability on the part of both the lender and the borrower, which can contribute to more responsible lending.

UNCTAD is currently working on gathering widespread support for the principles. At the moment, the following 13 countries have endorsed the principles: Argentina, Brazil, Cameroon, Colombia, Gabon, Germany, Honduras, Italy, Nepal, Norway, Mauritania, Morocco and Paraguay.  For the principles to take root, it is necessary that more countries recognise the principles and publicly state that they intend to abide by them.

Unfortunately, the principles are not binding, thus sovereigns that fail to abide by the principles cannot be sanctioned. But we hope that with time, the Principles will move from being soft law, to hard law, and be implemented in bilateral and multilateral loan contracts.

– Do you believe in creditor’s responsibility? What that it means in nowadays relations between creditors and debtors?

– Throughout the years, full responsibility for debts has been placed on the debtor alone. The term creditor’s co-responsibility breaks with the idea of the debtor being responsible for debt burden consisting of both odious and unsustainable debt. Creditor’s responsibility involves creditors conducting audits of claims to ensure that they are not receiving down-payments on illegitimate debts, to cancel claims that may have originated from irresponsible lending, and to implement principles for responsible lending in all forms of lending.

– In Greece we ask the formation of a debt audit committee as a means to cancel at least a part of the sovereing debt. Governments of Greece have rejected our demand saying that it’s a matter of honor for Greece to repay its debts. In practice they have given this right to creditors. As a result after to mini (3.2011 and 11.2012) and a giga-reconstruction (3.2012, known as PSI+) Greek debt is is still unviable (180% of GDP) and the discussion of a new haircut is again on the table. Do you believe that an audit committee is applied only on developing countries?

– I believe that debt audits is an important tool for both developed an developing countries, as well as debtor and creditor countries, to make clear which loans are illegitimate. All parties should conduct audits in accordance with principles for responsible lending and borrowing in order to make sure that they are not recieving downpayments (or paying down on) illegitimate debts»

Nominal and Real Aims of Austerity Programs: the Greek (extreme) Case

Leonidas Vatikiotis & Petros C. Kosmas (International Conference: Neoliberalism and the Crises of Economic Science, Istanbul May 2011)

Abstract

One year after the adoption of the Memorandum between the Greek government and the IMF-EU, many official data allows us to check, whether the objectives were implemented for which imposed. The dominant opinion in Greek political circles supports strong cuts, which will in exchange save the Greek economy from relying on the high cost of borrowing on the financial markets. This report examines the detail of the adjustment programme ofGreeceand leads to the opposite conclusion. In particular we examine: Firstly, the reasons invoked to legitimize the society the use of IMF-EU. Secondly, the measures implemented this year. Thirdly, the real causes of the Greek financial crisis. Fourthly, these results were provided in terms of social measures and the conclusions were reached in relation to the real goals of austerity. On this basis we argue that the real challenge was to improve fiscal imbalance, but with a major shift in macroeconomic policy that will allow to increase the profits of capital. Finally, reports in direct workable proposals have been produced that can solve the debt crisis faced byGreeceand the mean improvement in the position of the social majority.

1. Nominal aims

In May 2010 the government ofGreeceagreed with the IMF-EU for a set of economic austerity measures, which is supposed to solve the financial problem inGreece.

The basic outline of the financial problem inGreeceis defined by a combination of high debt and fiscal deficit. Specifically, in 2009 and 2010, Greece’s government debt to GDP ratio was 127% and 143% when the average mean of the 17 countries of the Eurozone was 79% and 85% and the of EU 27 was 74% and 80% of GDP respectively. And the budget deficit in 2009 and 2010 was 15% and 11% of GDP when the corresponding mean for the EU-27 was 7% and 6% of Eurozone’s GDP for both years (Eurostat, 2011).

The action mechanism of EU-IMF inGreeceaccelerated by rising interest rates, which made it unusually expensive to be prohibitive to fund borrowing theGreekRepublicand this in turn by the continuing degradation of the Greek economy from the credit rating agencies.

The resort to IMF- EU and the measures that accompanied the four Memoranda to date have been applied to correct these distortions.

2. Measures that imposed by IMF–EU

  • Outlining the measurements that have been imposed until today in order to confront the crisis of the public debt we observe that they concern:
  • Reductions in wages in the public and private sector by removing working allowances and cropping the 13th and 14th salary.
  • Against insurance law with reduces pensions and promotes the contributory system.
  • Sharp reduction in social expenditure having as a direct consequence the closure of 1056 schools – something unprecedented in the history of the Greek public sector, the dismantling of public health, as shown by the “working on the limits” of historic public hospitals and clinics and the shrinkage of public transport.
  • Dismissal of tens thousands of contracted employees meeting fixed and permanent needs in the broad and narrow public sector by not renewing the contracts.
  • Abolition of collective bargaining agreements and transferring the weight of trading in an increasingly low level: from the collective – in general area, then to the operational, and finally to the individual, where reigns the employing and managing arbitrariness.
  • Abolition of the institution of arbitration.
  • Increase the working hours in the public sector.
  • Reduction of compensation in order to facilitate redundancies.
  • Increased indirect taxation and in particular of the VAT and excise duties at the same time reducing the tax rate from 24% to 20% for business.
  • Facilitating business activities of multinational corporations and limited liability companies through the liberation of closed professions.
  • Sell-off public assets by privatization programmes of 50 billion euros, which were announced by the Troika, when its existence was initially denied by the government ofGreecein a categorical manner.

3. Real causes of Greek sovereign Debt Crisis

The evaluation of the real goals of the austerity programs requires the examination of the actual causes of the Greek budget crisis which are seven in total.

3.1 Measures to tackle Depression

The collapse of Lehman Brothers in September 2008 increased the interbank interest rates, limited bank financing in the economy, reduced the consumer spending as well as the public and the public tax revenues in all EU countries. Furthermore, the government intervention aiming to mitigate the effects of the crisis increased public spending and widened the gap across the EU. This situation is much worse inGreece, where from 2008 until now the banks have absorbed a total of 108 billion (of which 85 billion. were guarantees and 23 billion. were cash or equivalent bonds). Likewise, the 20 most developed countries in the world were confronted with a comparable situation. Consequently, the only times in history that recorded a similar increase in debt to that of 2009 (13%) where in time of war and especially in 1944: 22% and 1919: 14 % (IMF, 2010).

Comprehensively, it is estimated that the current crisis in advanced countries led to output loses of 25% of GDP and a consequent increase in public debt of around 24% of GDP (Laeven andValencia, 2010).

3.2 Addiction of the Greek capital in Direct Subsidies

The rescue of problematic firms in the 80s and the Olympic Games in 2004 -with an initial cost of 9.5 billion and probably a final cost of 20 billion- are the tip of the iceberg of direct aid to enterprises in the form of cash. However, in recent decades the Greek companies, especially the elite, have been steadily supported by billions each year in the form of development incentive through the Public Investment Program. The scandals are fostered by accomplices of the two powerful political parties (PASOK and ND) as well as of the big companies. The latter were imposed by the Memorandum and appear to be concerned about deficits.

3.3 Privatizations

By invoking the rationalization and the reduction of the state, the government revenues lost revenue source. The most popular but not unique example is the case of OTE Telecommunications, which was sold to the German Deutsche Telecom from the government of New Democracy under completely non-transparent procedures and a price equal to the public revenue for a year.

3.4 Equipment for Defense

The amounts spent nationally on armaments gives the impression thatGreeceis a military superpower inEuropeandMediterranean.

For the purpose of illustration, when on average in the EU of the 27 spends 1.6% of GDP on armaments, Greece spends 3,3% (SIPRI, 2011), which is twice the EU average and three times more of what other neighboring countries such as the Mediterranean Europe, spend. Although this equipment is not necessary, it is however enforced by NATO and not by the national defense.

TABLE 1: Total Expenditure for Payment of Debt, in Euro (1991-2011)

 

YEAR

 

AMORTIZATION

 

INTERESTS

CONCURRENT COSTS

 

TOTAL

1991

2.703

4.203

46

6.952

1992

6.406

4.123

71

10.600

1993

4.707

6.228

135

11.070

1994

7.162

8.990

190

16.342

1995

7.907

9.098

307

17.312

1996

10.263

9.641

339

20.243

1997

10.145

8.809

308

19.262

1998

9.682

9.018

170

18.870

1999

9.251

9.290

101

18.642

2000

13.131

9.499

58

22.688

2001

11.618

9.289

39

20.946

2002

20.280

8.535

59

28.874

2003

20.763

9.208

70

30.041

2004

18.444

9.283

72

27.799

2005

20.379

9.616

71

       30.066

2006

16.589

9.441

56

26.086

2007

22.195

9.657

71

31.923

2008

26.246

11.134

72

37.452

2009

29.000

12.195

145

41.340

2010

19.510

12.950

0

32.460

2011

28.130

15.920

0

44.050

ΣΥΝΟΛΟ

314.511

196.127

2.380

513.018

Source: Ministry of Economics, Government Budgets

3.5 Low Taxes on Capital

Greecehas one of the lower reasons for tax revenue to GDP: 32.6% of GDP when the average in the EU of the 27 and the euro area is 37% and inDenmarkthat has the highest ratio of 48%. The low tax revenues are a consequence of the almost symbolic taxation of the capital.

This reflects from the great discrepancy that display the rates of capital taxation inGreececompared to the EU: the rate is 15% inGreecewhile the corresponding tax rates are 27% in the EU (Eurostat, 2010).

3.6 Participation in the Eurozone

The participation of Greece in the European Union in 1981 and in the Eurozone in 2002 initially accelerated the liquidation of capital at the expense of manufacturing, agriculture, livestock and total employment and, of course, of government revenues. Furthermore, the reason for the low rate of exports in total GDP (21%vs.40% for the euro area) should be sought in the adoption of a monetary policy that is not only inappropriate but diametrically opposite to the interests of the Greek economy. Suffice it to say that the Greek economy is required to survive in an environment of appreciation of the «national» currency by 64% within a decade (this how much the euro has appreciated against the dollar since the01/02/2002), while in the past every seven years was devaluated.

The causes of the current crisis in the Eurozone are related to the separation of the Eurozone in periphery and center respectively.  The intensification of conflicts within was a result of depressed wages policy that was followed byGermanyover the last decade (RMF, 2010).

3.7 Servicing Public Debt  

The costs of servicing the public debt between 1991 and 2011 amounted to 513 billion € (Table 1). The redemption of short-term securities or titles only in the last 9 years (2003 – 2011) amounted to 151 billion. Evidently, it is easy to conclude that over the last 20 years we have paid the debt twice. (A clear case of compound interest!)

The destructive role of the public debt on public finances is evident by the fact that tax revenues this year (52.9 billion) is more than enough for the necessary social expenditure, i.e., wages and public pensions, pension funds and financing, costs for Department of Health, Education and Defense (51.6 billion). The public debt will instead absorb interest and amortization of 62 billion. Three times more than the salaries and pensions, and ten times more than the expenses for education will be.

4. Implications to the Society and Real Aims of the Austerity Programmes 

Although it is still early there is considerable evidence of the worsening social problem inGreece, as a result of the austerity policy imposed by the IMF and the EU.

4.1 Explosion Unemployment

Based on recent evidence of the Greek Statistical Service, the official unemployment rate in February 2011 amounted to 15.9% (affecting 787.229 people). Compared with last year this was increased by 30.1% (then hit 605,277 people) [1].

4.2 Elastification in Labour Relations

According to statement by Minister L. Katseli, businesses inGreeceusing the new workplace, in 2010 necessitated the change of contract full-time flexible in a number greater by 55% compared with 2009.

4.3 Decreases in Salaries and Pensions

On the basis of a statement of the Governor of the Bank of Greece, George Provopoulos, 2010, in the first year implementation of the Memorandum wages inGreecefell by 14% and pensions by 11%. Also, the hourly labor costs inGreecein 2010 recorded a record drop of 6.5% when the EU-27 increased by 2% and the 17 euro zone increased by 1.4% (Eurostat, 42/2011).

4.4 Increases in Poverty

Based on data released last year by the Bank of Greece, the poverty rose by one quarter and now it reaches 25.07% of the population. Obviously, workers and the social majority did not benefit from the Memorandum, while the bourgeoisie was benefited by reversing gains of several decades.

Notable gains were recorded by foreign banks, in particular the Franco-German that had the highest exposure in Greek bonds. To corroborate recent evidence showing that while the beginning of the crisis involving the foreign banks in the Greek debt was around 150 billion, now stands at 50 billion. On the other hand European banks were from 115 to 40 million. More specifically, Germans and French had the greatest exposure to the Greek debt by 30 to 8 and 45 to 12 billion euros (BIS,21 April 2010) respectively. As a result of this economic policy, the main creditors ofGreecewill not risk more than a possible cessation of payments that was initiated by the debtors. In this way, the IMF confirmed its role as negotiator and organizer of creditor’s cartel, just as had happened inArgentina(Cibils, Weisbrot and Kar, 2002).

All these measures were not only ineffective but also class-biased as the crisis deepens. Witnesses: Firstly, the increase in public debt of 127% in 2009, when decisions are taken on appeal to 160% of GDP when it is supposed to complete the memorandum. Secondly, the deterioration of the reliability ofGreecewith the explosion of interest in the secondary market and the continuing deterioration of credit rating agencies.

Table 2 below shows the trend of interest rates in the time since the adoption of the Memorandum.

Table 2: Interest Rates in the Secondary Market for 2 years, 5 years, and 10 years – Greek Government Bonds

2y

5y

10y

5 May 2010

14,91%

12,48%

10,17%

5 May 2011

25,28%

16,71%

15,51%

Source: Bloomberg Generic

Thirdly, plans to restructure the debt and new loans will result in a failure ofGreeceto come to market in 2012. In conclusion, the simplicity and the Memorandum have not been applied to overcome the debt crisis, but to change the balance between the forces of labor and capital. In this occasion,Greecedeficits have been the testbed of the economic attack, which unleashed the hawk’s deficits (Polin, 2010). Also, the IMF, as in the case ofArgentinaandSoutheast Asia, proved unable to manage the crisis (Cibils and Vuolo, 2007).

5. An Alternative to the «Chemotherapy» of IMF-EU

In contrast to these measures a condition for overcoming the financial crisis and improve the position of the majority is to implement the following measures:

  • Stop paying the debt with responsibility of the debtor on the basis of emergency (RMF, 2010),
  • Exit from the Eurozone to halt the creation of deficits,
  • Devaluation of the new national currency[2],
  • Nationalisation of banks,
  • Barriers to entry and exit of capital,
  • Production restructuring of the economy.

This is a minimum set of measures on which the Greek society will leave from the position of Ulysses, who spent a decade to return from where it started, and will go in place of Prometheus, who pioneered the effect of helping all humanity.

6. Conclusions

The only thing in reality the packet of measures achieves is an important change in the ownership of the debt, where the national debt ofGreeceis transferred from European bank accounts to labour class. The claim that fiscal austerity during a recession is “economically correct”, in reality is “economically incorrect” and is designed to avoid public criticism. As far as to why, that many dominant circles support today this catastrophic policy, is simple: those circles are concern for the purpose of the capital, less for the interest of the workers and the poor, but rather they identify their interest with those of the Wall Street and the City, and the higher classes. The obvious beneficiary from the ‘rescue packet’ of the Eurozone governments will not be the Greek workers and pensioners who suffer from extreme cuts and resection, but the financial centres.

6. References

Cibils, A., Weisbrot M., and K., Debayani, (2002), ‘Argentinasince Default: The IMF and the Depression’, Center for Economic and Policy Research, Briefing Paper.

Cibils, Alan and R., L., Vuolo, (2007), ‘At Debt’s door: What can we learn from Argentina’s recent Debt Crisis and Restructuring’? Seattle Journal for Social Justice, Vol. 5, Issue 2.

EEAG (2011), Report on the European Economy, GoverningEurope.

Eurostat (2011), Euro Area and EU27 Government Deficit, 60/2011.

Eurostat (2010), Taxation trends in the European Union, Main Results.

Eurostat (2011), Fourth quarter 2010 compared with fourth quarter, 42/2011.

IMF (2010), ‘A Historical Public Debt Database’, S. Ali Abbas, Nazim Belhocine, Asmaa El Ganainy and Mark Horton, WP/10/245,

IMF, (2010), ‘Greece: Staff Report on Request for Stand – By Arrangement’, Country Report, No.10/110.

Laeven, L., and F., Valencia(2010), ‘Resolution of Banking Crisis: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly’, IMF Working Paper, No. 10/146.

Pollin R., (2010), ‘Austerity is not a solution, why the Deficit Hawks are Wrong’, Challenge, November / December 2010.

RMF (2010), ‘The Eurozone between Austerity and Default’, RMF Occasional Report, September 2010.

SIPRI (2011), ‘Stockholm International Peace Research Institute Yearbook, 2011.

 


[1]           The explosion of unemployment is the most typical failure among many other false predictions of the IMF related to inflation, the depth of the recession, etc. For unemployment in particular the IMF forecasts that this year will fall only to 14.6% (IMF, May 2010).

[2]           The option of leaving the euro and the depreciation in response to tackle the Greek tragedy is not displayed only by radical school of thoughts. It is referred for example from European Economic Advisory Group Report on the European Economy 2011: “The two options (exiting the euro and introducing a devalued drachma, the first and a radical internal depreciation, with Greek prices and wages falling sharply relative to those in the rest of the euro area, the second) impose very large costs and will not work quickly. Both will increase the burden of foreign debt expressed as a share of GDP and have dangerous effects on the balance sheets of many firms and financial institutions. An internal depreciation as large as required can certainly not be achieved without a painful and sustained contraction of the economy and higher unemployment. An external depreciation is likely to be preceded by rumours that can cause a bank run and lead to a currency crisis. There is therefore no alternative that is clearly more palatable than the other in every respect. The choice is between two evils” (EEAG Report, 2011).